tv [untitled] February 19, 2012 10:30am-11:00am EST
your opinion is. >> eisenhower maintained a close correspondent with prime minister mcmillan of great britain. he, the single ally general, invited to moscow in 1945, he wrote to mcmillan the greatest disappointment of my political life, my entire political life was the collapse of the -- eisenhower was one of those generals who had seen war and hated it. eisenhower hated war. khrushchev, i lived in russia, among russians for years, so i have this. in my bones i feel about khrushchev for all his bluster about communism was some butter
on the bread. he's shown here as a guy pounding at the un and he wasn't a very diplomatic guy and certainly did some nasty things and we did some nasty things. but essentially khrushchev wanted peace. eisenhower wanted peace. could we have cooled it? yes, we could have cooled it. do you realize during the cold war we produced 72,000 atomic weapons? am i ex-ager rating? does this have relevance to today? i leave that to you to judgment. we produced 72,000 atomic weapons. how do we, as a country, respond to challenge? are we paranoic? did a single politician say cool it, wouldn't he be accused of
being soft on communism and lose elections? you can -- nobody knows more than i the faults of the soviet union and the responsibility for starting the cold war. but i want to say we often leapt down there in the pit with them and behaved just as badly as they did. >> i'm not sure i believe that. >> they were scared and we scared them. >> i can't quite buy, sure we were scared but there were reasons we were scared. khrushchev wasn't exactly a typical politician, he had blood on his hands. he did a lot of horrible things in his own country. >> what was he doing in '59? yes or no? >> i think he was trying to do things. >> he had his right wing on his side. our job was to try to help him -- >> i think we tried.
>> sit nt trisn't it true it's get in the mind of a foreign mind, it's our job to resolve uncertainties in a way of fear? when we couldn't know for sure how many missiles they had, we exaggerated because there was always somebody here would say are you certain? and nobody in our society wanted to be wrong. nobody wanted a second pearl harbor, nobody wanted to under estimate the threat and we couldn't be sure of what the threat was and sadly, khrushchev, for all the intentions we now know very well because of the materials that the russians finally opened, he often spoke as if his society was producing more missiles than they were. he was feeding some of of our paranoia and doing it deliberately because he was afraid of us. it was a vicious circle. >> one thing you can know and feel good about in the new
treaty where we are today and in 2011, 1500, down to 1500 missiles each. so we're making a lot of progress and i think the american exhibition was a part of that. you and tanya you look at the picture there of the guides, it was a fantastic thing. 52 years later i still remember things as vividly as if it was yesterday. >> that is only the girls. we had guys, too. we had a lot of fellas. >> how do you create trust? there is an issue of trust between leaders and that is harder, isn't it because of their background and training. >> ie >> the way that you have trust is by getting to know the other side. even if it's the enemy, so the exchanges, i was talking to the
head of the visitors exchange, we had that at usia, what happened is i remember a list of 50 leaders that the american embassy and usia they really carefully looked at who would be up and coming and so they would send them to the united states for three weeks. those 50 leaders were like margaret thatcher, you name it, all the leaders, a list of 50 of them. when i was at usia. i asked today, a list of 350. people who became prime ministers or presidents were selected early in their career and sent and paid for to come to the united states and live in american homes. the question -- my answer to your question is absolutely that we have to have an exchange of people from libya, and asia and
that and russia and get to know them. eisenhower started the people-to-people program. because as you said, he didn't like war. he knew what it was. he told me we've got to have hundreds of thousands of people coming back and forth and i think that is the answer. by the way, the internet and facebook and twitter, i don't use that, but i think all of those things will make it a smaller world as we are seeing with the arab spring. >> let's open the floor to questions from the audience. there are mics, let's turn the lights up. there are mics on either side here, thank you. >> after the vice president left office, don kendall gave him a great deal of law business representing pepsi cola. is it clear the vice president
was a friend of his at the time? >> i can answer that clearly, kendell now says and i think he said it so long he believes it, that nixon got khrushchev to drink pepsi. we did. it was just the way we structured it, and it was accidental, we hoped it would happen but nixon played no part with -- kendall was only a vice president then. we had over there the heads of ibm and at&t, it was amazing the amount of chief executives who felt now freedom and power that they could go to the land of enemy, george, and actually see it. i tell you -- may i? anecdote. i told you we had u.s. offices and soviet offices. i walked in the one guy and he asked me to come in and i hadn't
had time i came in a couple hours later and i noticed on his desk very neatly piled was the whole pile of papers, all neatly stacked. and i kind of looked at him with my rudimentary knowledge of russian, press releases, ge the kitchen, a press release went out. hundreds of press releases. so he said i need your judgment, i have to figure out how many soviet people from the trade department will be here to service and help the americans who are coming over to buy. americans coming over to buy? n no, they were coming over to look. he had seen the lists in the press releases and they had no real good knowledge of it so i wanted to be as kind as i could, so i think he was think tg of 60
or 100, so i said well, you know it's new, brand, maybe 10 or 15. oh, really he said? >> if can say one quick thought that comes to mind. i think khrushchev had a difficult time understanding how we really lived until he came to america that fall. i remember when i came over in '59, 20 years old, a new cultural experience, lots of people lived in come youal amounts. communal. >> majority of. >> it was only under khrushchev they started to build the four or five story apartment buildings. >> instant slums. >> they were badly built. life was so hard for them at that time, the way they dressed the kind of shoes. you would walk down the street in moscow everybody would look at your shoes and they would know you were a foreigner because you couldn't buy things
like that there. their life style was very, very difficult at that time. >> very top of the soviet system the presidium would have discussion about the fact balconies were falling down, collapsing in moscow, the top, this is the soviet system building nuclear weapons, they are worried because the balconies are collapsing. >> remember the nets? that held up the building? >> this is 14 years after the kind of war that we kind even imagine. >> but the thing about it -- >> world war ii was so destructive. >> george, this is your point. we were afraid of society that couldn't build balconies. that is something to keep in mind. we thought they had 150 intercontinental ballistic missiles when they had two. >> tim, we had every right to be afraid. there were aspects and not all
of us knew i say see change after stalin you refer to things that happened under stalin, it was a still full of abhorrent aspects to an american the way the soviet union ran in that '59 and after when i was a student there. but it wasn't stalinist, it had changed remarkably and we kept on thinking it as tanya talks about stalin. and i just want to say one thing we have every right to be afraid, but not 72,000 atomic weapons afraid worth. we can't change much in our enemies, let's begin by looking at ourselves for a moment. and stop talking about if we're going apportion blame, put more blame on the soviet union if that is what you want but we can't change much there. i'm zhag we look a little bit at ourselves and stop producing
72,000 atomic weapons which is an indication of the kind of people we are and the way we respect to challenge, you couldn't use -- >> or maybe what the multiple industrial complex. >> i don't understand where you all think that in 1958 that kitchenette that was shown with the wonderful appliances is what the average family in america had. i wasn't poor, and we didn't have anything like that in my kitchen. and i was a 20-year-old mother with and i bought my first house in 1960, and we did not have -- you're right. >> compare it to leavitt town didn't have base mets or attics, they might have had a wonderful kitchen but they had no space. >> there was that aspect to any
exhibition, the soviet exhibition in new york in the coliseum was even worse that way. >> to me i never understood why nixon thought that was so great because i didn't have it. i don't know who he knew. >> it depends a lot of us had dishwasher at that point. >> i didn't have a dishwasher until 1990. >> well -- >> what are the women lined up supposed to be? those were the american guides that worked there. >> why would, in this day and age would you show a picture of women with shot up from the bottom, give me a break. >> no, no, it wasn't shot up from the bottom. i have to explain. we were doing a circular shot, the photographer was on his stomach in the mud, a man i later married, trying to get all the group together in a picture with the dome in the background. it's not -- there is no attempt to be anything else. >> it's my fault.
purple is my favorite color. >> by the way i want to say something about the guides. tanya, george, i don't know george, how much you had this, but i know tanya there was another woman charlotte who also was fluent in russian, later became the bureau chief out of her experience there. >> of the christian science monitor. >> i introduced her to a man and he was the editor of the monitor and also when he came over not in that position but he was a chairman of the u.s. chamber of commerce but what i wanted to say people like charlotte and tanya had incredible access to the children. we had a non-fraternization poll six we were not allowed to date russians and our guides were not supposed to date but you got invited to their homes. >> absolutely.
>> they saw what it was. why don't you say something about that, at the time when things were so poor in the soviet union, some of your friends told me that they were in and they had special shops. >> it's a -- it was a society on various levels. the average person had to fend for themselves in the stores, find what they could find and do the best they could do. for the political people, my god yes, they had special stores, they could buy thing the average soviet citizen could not buy. but the life style was very primitive. you can't imagine what it was like to live in a communal apartment. >> can you imagine to be what it was like to be a middle class american? >> we all were. >> if it make you feel any better when my father purchased a house -- >> ma'am, let the ambassador
finish. this has turned in a kitchen debate. >> big signs, $4500 for a home. a lot of us lived in grew up in homes that were $4,000, $5000, and we had everything but a dishwasher. >> i don't know what your personal situation was like but my parents just worked regular jobs, two people in the family worked, so that we could have, we had a modest and a long time my mother had a modest house in the northeast part of washington. it happened to be a newer house that had the appliances because that is -- >> we can agree there is no exhibit the exhibit put america's best forward and lots of aspects that are not depicted in the exhibition. we can also say there is no doubt the united states produced far more consumer goods than the
soviet union. >> the standard of living was a tenth not -- >> that is why this was an important moment in cultural and political history because the soviets began to see the gap and even their leadership realized that this was a gap that could not be filled unless they made changes and that what is leads to some of the things that we discussed. are there any other questions? yes. >> i had a question about how the average american responded to the exhibit. when i read about in the 1950's, there is a dual image, yes, let's show them american prosperity, that will encourage them to move toward capitalism, others if we show them that, they will get our technology. just curious, articles in "life"
magazine about the exhibit, what was the average reaction to it? tanya, you know about those articles in "life" magazine. hard to say what the average american reaction was. it was publicized, "life" ran several story, it was a very big story we came through in the soviet union, kind of crossed the barrier, got in. it's hard to say how the average american responded, i don't know, it's a very individual matter. >> when i read articles say around 1955, people were frightened, they didn't want to make the contact, just curious if that was the same sort of thing? >> i don't know, we all discussed why it was good to make contact and how it opened up avenues for both countries. i don't know who would be that afraid. they didn't copy as much, the chinese are the ones that copied japanese copied, i don't think the russians copied us.
>> they tried. >> they had clunky things. >> people were concerned they would copy -- >> their models were older, not that kitchens have to be the basis of the whole discussion, but if you took a appliances you would sell, and we buy these things, let's face it, and their models were clunk, we were more advanced with our consumer economy than they were. they loved things like our cars, they went ape over our cars. >> i think that the key word of how at the american public was, that what is your question is, was cure yous curiosity. i got publicity and all, people my friends would talk to me, and curiosity about the soviet union. there was such a closed society and that is the main thing and the only thing that will up, yo back and forth.
i've continued to go back and forth. i've got my own business. i've got clients. american clients in russia. it's amazing. from '93, when it was like the wild west to today, i mean, you got a growing middle class there with cars and traffic like you've never seen, apartments, you know, moscow's got a couple of hiltons, a couple of marriotts. >> you know, a -- >> i stayed -- you know the inn tourist hotel where they give you a towel like a washcloth and that's been replaced by the ritz carlton. it's one of the most expensive cities in the world now. the interchange, if you see the amount of travel at the airports, if you go, you see the russian citizens coming to the
u.s. and vice versa, back and forth, it's a very good healthy thing. and i don't want to leave that that 72,000 -- you're in the old days, my friend. you're back 50 years. you're talking about now, we've got -- >> i said, that's what we produced during the cold war. >> i know. but that's -- oh, you keep harping on that. it's not fair to the united states. we're trying and the russians are trying. we're trying to go down. so -- >> see, the cold war leads to wonderful debates, even among panelists, the soviets -- >> you mean we didn't produce 72,000? >> can i tell you -- >> how do i know? >> but how am i not being fair to the united states? am i citing an incorrect figure? this is the goth figure. >> i'm saying, you're talking -- the government acknowledges 72,000. we'll probably learn it's
100,000. >> fine. >> yeah, but all i'm saying, we had a tendency -- it was a very serious challenge in the soviet union as there are now very serious challenges to us. our reaction has always been massively an overreaction military. that's all i'm saying. >> and you may be wrong. >> of course i may be wrong. we don't have any more time for questions but i would like to ask the panelists if they have a comment they would like to finish with about why anyone over a certain age should care about the 1959 exhibition and the kitchen debate, why does this matter today? >> well, i think if history matters, you know, to anybody, you need to look back. you had a very vicious system. when you think in terms of stalin and the days reagan grew
up in, he said it was an evil empire, a lot of people were shocked and then when you really think about what happened in those days, where he eliminated a lot of his own population, and then you see a man standing up and he gave that famous speech. you read it. and denouncing stalin, that took a lot of guts. and i think kruchev was the forerunner and gorbachev picked it up. gorbachev gave a lot of emphasis to the people that come now. look, you've got 1,000 years of serfs, 1,000 years of communisms and now there's a fledgling democracy. from what i see, it's beginning to work. it's going to be very interesting to see how this thing goes on, even though we're critical of the leaders. tonya, significance? >> to wrap it up quickly.
we were really one of the first to come in. we were huge. we were in comparison to what they had seen before and we did show them an awful lot about america. they were very, very interested. you know, they couldn't get information about america over there. they were just horrible. the kind of news that the soviet public was exposed to. they couldn't get the -- you had to have special permission to go and get "the new york times" and a special library of "the washington post." you just didn't have that kind of access if you were russian at that time. it would not like we were keeping it from them. you couldn't get it. that's why we became so important. because we brought so many things. our whole library disappeared. we brought a library of all the books went. we brought more books. they all disappeared, too. people were starving for information about what we had.
the exchange is significantly important when we're faced with challenge and conflict. there's no other way other than violence exchange is important. i'm going to leave with a puzzle. what tonya says about the lack of news information is true. not cultural. they read a great deal about america, but i leave you with a puzzle because i can't figure it out. why was it that in the depths of the cold war, we were not in the depths. we were coming out by '59. the russians generally speaking loved and admired americans far more than any other people on
earth and now in the so-called democracy, the average russian, about whom i know a little bit, because i'm there a lot, the average russian has a far less sanguin, hospitable feeling to me. during the cold war, russians really liked americans. a lot were afraid to meet us. they didn't -- you know, they were scared. they had to take precautions. you know, they had to take precautions. and now, as i say, we're not at all liked. we're more and there. that's what puzzles me. >> it's not familiarity breeds con temperatu contempt. we were talking about an event almost 52 years ago. you've been privileged to listen to people who are animated. listen to the fashion they bring to remembering not just those events but why they mattered.
that's the passion that informed and shaped our role and participation in the cold war that continues to be a source of debate, discussion, interpretation and continues to matter. you're all very of the fortunate. you on tv, those with us, to meet three people who cared about it, and wanted ko convey that significance to you. thank you all three for tonight. >> you're watching american history tv. all weekend every weekend on c-span 3. for more information, follow us on twitter@cspanhistory. hi, i'm mark, i head up c-span's lcv project, local content vehicle. we have three of them. the purpose of these vehicles is to collect programming from outside of washington, d.c. now, how do we do it? we staff each one of these with
one person with a small video camera and a laptop editor so they're able to roll, record, produce and edit things from the road. that's what we're doing with the lcvs. why i want to do this is to get outside of washington, d.c. and collect programming for all of our networks. we're doing what we're calling lcv cities tour. we'll descend on each city with all three vehicles. one will do historic sites, the other will do book tv programming catching up with authors and the third one does community relations events. it's important to us because we work with our cable partners in each one of the cities. the last thing that's important to know is want this gets put on the website, c-span video lip braer and we're also doine soci. you'll see us on facebook, our cable partners on facebook, you'll see four square, which is location-based and tell people where we're going. you'll see us on twitter as well. so, it's a chance to get out our message not only on air, but
also online and through social media as well. so, that's why it's important. we want to get outside of washington, d.c., get into places we don't normally do programming and really make a commitment to getting outside the beltway to produce programming for all of the c-span networks. >> watch our local content vehicles' next stop in shreveport, louisiana, the first weekend in march on c-span 2's book tv and book tv on c-span 3. >> american history tv usually shown on the weekend on c-span 3 will continue this week in prime time. our focus on tuesday night is black history month. at 8:00 eastern with the ground breaking of the new smithsonian event of african culture and history taking place on the national mall, the museum's founding director takes us through the storage facility to see some of the artifacts that will be on display. at 8:30 the relationship between martin luther king jr. and his mentors,